When the sun starts coming out.

When a relationship ends, it’s difficult for both people, regardless of who makes the decison that things can’t continue any more. You might have been thinking the same thing but you just didn’t have the guts to pull the trigger first. Emotions can be mixed, but maybe the negative ones come first. Hurt, regret, sadness, tears, all of us have experienced those feelings. The nights come and they’re brutal, the suffering begins. Sleep is difficult, there’s a heightened silence, it’s easy to feel that you just want to disappear for a while.

Once you find yourself beginning to get over things or thinking that you’re getting over things, perhaps that’s when there’s a chink of light in the dark. Excitement, hope, relief, surely there will be someone that comes next for you, assuming that’s what you want.

It’s difficult to know when you’re ready though. All you can do is to go about your day, live your life, be as good a person as you can be and then maybe something happens. It can be a minefield, right? Take politeness, has it become so rare that people mistake it for flirting? So, you’re a nice person, you smile a lot and try to be cool and friendly to the people that you meet. Tough though, because it can be seen as flirting when it’s not meant in that way. Just because you’re being nice and making conversation with someone doesn’t mean that you want to take them to bed. Good conversation between two people of the opposite sex doesn’t have to be anything more than that.

Flirting is one of those things, just like everything else in the world, that some people are just better at. Is it something that’s probably just as much about learning to like yourself again, as much as it is about liking someone else? Trying to see yourself through someone’s eyes and realising that whilst your confidence has taken a knock, you might just be okay? Do you wait and see what happens, or try and chat up everyone that you meet that you think you might like? It’s a lottery, the chances of winning are extremely slim but millions still play, in it to win it, right? Hitting on every girl in sight is like buying a shit ton of tickets, one of them might pay off at some point.

How do you even flirt? Look someone straight in their eyes, smile, use their name a lot, pay them compliments? If it’s been a while, it’s tough to know which approach to take. It’s okay to be nervous, hopefully your courage kicks in, but it’s hard not to think of your last relationship if it hurt you though.

If I did, I’d be a broken man, full of broken dreams, with a broken heart.

My lease is up on my apartment, so I have to move. The issue is that the new place won’t be ready for a few months, and crashing with friends for a couple of days is okay, but you don’t want to ever inconvenience anyone. I know that I’m only taking up the new place to rent it out before moving back overseas for work, so a hotel it is. I check in, it’s cool, but it’s lonely. You need to force yourself to get out there and meet people, it’s too easy to sit in your room. A few weeks in, I try to renew my booking but it’s full for the next week due to a big conference in the city. Availability is limited and all that’s left is a hostel. I’ve not stayed in one before but fuck it, every day is an adventure. To my surprise, it’s actually pretty cool, I have my own room, there’s a full kitchen, internet access, what more do you need? The best part? Different people are coming and going every day, who knows who I might meet? Nothing romantic enters my head but meeting new people from across the globe, people on their travels, what’s not to like? Knowing the area well, it’s nice to be able to recommend things to do and see to others. Politeness.

New friendships are made, conversations in the kitchen with random strangers of varying nationalities happens regularly, drinks are shared, music is played, some have dodgier tastes than others, but that’s okay. How can broadening your horizons be a bad thing?

There’s a Canadian girl I meet, travelling on her own around the country, but she’s here to take care of some family things. We strike up a conversation one night and she shows me a map of all the places that she wants to visit once she’s done what she needs to do. Advice is given and I don’t think any more of it, as nice as she is. Politeness. She ends up staying for longer than expected and the conversations become more regular, meals are cooked for all of our new mutual friends, wine is shared and friendships evolve.

It’s a Saturday night about ten days in, and a small group of us are cooking and drinking, music is on, each of us gets to pick the next song to play. A friend tells me to hurry up before there’s no more night left. My mind is blank, but he tells me that she clearly likes me and to that I need to do something about it before she leaves. Fuck. I know that we’re all looking for that tiny spark that we’ve been dancing around with to set off an explosion in our lives, but I didn’t even know that we were dancing, I thought that she was just being polite too.

It’s my turn to choose a song and you sing along if it’s a song you know, don’t you? She looks at me and asks me the question that my friend saw coming but I didn’t. I have to say no because I promised someone that I wouldn’t move on until things were finalised between us. I’m missing out but a promise is a promise. It’s not the first time, it might not be the last, but I can see how I’ve disappointed her, although it was never my intention. The song plays, and I sing along, almost under my breath.

It’s going to be alright, you’re going to be golden, you’re going to be falling in love before you know it. Am I telling her or am I telling myself?

@TheSamMcLeod
@YouMeMusicLife

Maybe you’re listening.

There are times during certain situations when words escape you, when you don’t always know what to say. Maybe someone you know has suffered the loss of someone close to them, or is going through the heartbreak that can come with the end of a relationship. Maybe someone has asked you a question and it’s thrown you completely. Sure, you know plenty of things, but your world is filled with a lot of other stuff that you don’t know anything about. The right words to say can be one of those things. Not always being able to say the right thing, at the right time is confusing, but it’s something that happens to all of us now and again. You can nail it, you can know in that moment exactly what you need to say, but then, on occasion, you have the subtlety of a sledgehammer.

Aren’t there so many times in your life when an email, a phone call or a text just won’t cut it? You need to have an actual conversation. Some of us find it easy to open up, whilst some of us are emotional hand grenades. Every day of your life involves you answering questions. No, yes, I’m not sure. Some questions are clearly more difficult than others, but the answers even more so. The ability to say yes or no is easy for some, but can be so difficult for the rest of us.

Take meeting someone new that you like, for example, isn’t all that you want to do is to enchant, impress or surprise them? Your reply to every question they ask you, is usually yes. It takes courage to say no though when a part of you wants to be saying yes. There’s no point in saying maybe, if you feel like you should say no. If you’re at a loss for words, isn’t it better to learn to keep your mouth shut? If you can’t find the right words, if everything you might say could be wildly off the mark, perhaps you should remind yourself that this could be the right time to listen? No is a complete sentence though. Don’t you have a right to say the n word without having to explain yourself? Maybe you say no to a lot of things, just so you can say yes to the one person or the one thing that you know you want. We all have different hopes and dreams, but don’t some of them go on hold if someone says no to you?

No one ever intrinsically really wants to hurt someone’s feelings if they ask you something important, and you can’t say yes. You might not always want to care too much, but you do, don’t you? The problem is knowing how to say no.

The ninth letter and the sixth letter of the alphabet. I and F, if. When someone asks you an important question, doesn’t so much weight hang on that one word? There are so many things we feel we should do or say that we really don’t have to. Sometimes we do have to though.

If I was asked a difficult question, I’d like to think I’d know just what to say.

It was a Saturday night and a friend is having a housewarming party. It’s always nice to get invited to things, so obviously the response is yes. I’ll know next to no one there, but there’s a fun element in meeting new people and having conversations about different subjects that I’ve maybe never had before. He’s super popular with everyone, a cool trait to have. There are so many people of so many various creeds, faiths and nationalities in his place, that Benetton could rock up to film a new advert, and no one would bat an eyelid. Wine is opened, there are a ton of beers in a bath that’s filled with ice, there are so many spirits and mixers on the go, you could make pretty much any cocktail that you want to. New people are met, conversations are had, and there is so much laughter. Pretty much a perfect evening so far. It looks like everyone is having a good time, people who have never met before add each other on Facebook and Twitter, because connections have been made. Numbers are exchanged.

The kitchen is the best place to be whilst at a party, right? A side effect of this, is that you end up opening beers for people or topping up their wine glass, but that’s okay. Standing next to the one bottle opener and corkscrew is my own fault, but it’s cool, always a good conversation starter. A girl that I’ve never met or even noticed yet, is looking around confused. I ask her if she’s okay, and she replies that she is, she just needs more wine. It’s lucky that someone is stood in the same postcode as a corkscrew. I ask which colour she would like, and I duly oblige. We start chatting, and she tells me that she’s Canadian and is travelling around Europe before having to go back home to start a new job in a month or so. Her conversation is on point, she’s clearly clever, and the time that we chatted with each other was enjoyable. As is the case at most parties, you get speaking to other people though, and your conversations move on.

I live in the city, so I know that I’m headed home alone, but his place is huge and a lot of people will be staying over, because they’ve travelled to see him and they don’t know the city. She’s one of those people. We bump into each other again later on in the night, clearly she needs more wine, and we chat once more. She asks for recommendations of things to see and do, and I scribble down the best attractions and the things that she shouldn’t miss, I’m not just a guy with corkscrew skills. One of the things I mention is the beach and she seems super excited to see it, and asks me if I would like to go with her, some friends and grab a coffee or an ice cream tomorrow. Given that coffee is always best enjoyed on a Sunday morning, I agree, and we arrange a time to meet back at my friend’s place, and then I can show her and her friends around.

I return at the admittedly early arranged time, but it’s only her standing there, everyone else is too hungover, it seems. It’s cool though, a couple of hours at the beach is always good, whether alone or in company. I point out things on the way, she takes plenty of photographs, of the buildings, of the beach, of the dolphins that we see swimming in the harbour and we grab coffee. It was fun, I walk her back, we hug, say our goodbyes, and I head back home. Not at any point has anything romantic ever crossed my mind, I was just being nice. If someone is nice or polite to you, it doesn’t always mean that they’re flirting with you.

A couple of days later, I get a message asking if I’d like to go and visit her, have dinner, drinks and stay with her? Maybe I could join her on the next part of her trip and we could see more things together? How bad are men at reading signals? The dots begin to connect, but everything has changed in that moment. Too many things are in the cons column for it to even be a possibility. I’m going to have to say no to her because I still want to be saying yes to someone else.

Maybe I don’t know anything anymore. Perhaps the silence, between that message coming through and me still not replying, is only awkward because I don’t have any confidence in it. Don’t you have to decide who your priority is without feeling guilty? I don’t want to hurt you, but it’s not fair to say yes, when I need to say no.

I write because I never know just what to say.

@TheSamMcLeod